Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tau Suan with Gula Melaka

I have some leftover Gula Melaka syrup from the Tang Yuen (glutinous rice balls) and whenever I have some leftover syrup, I will make another dessert to go with it. Gula Melaka is scarce here so throwing it away is a no no. So, having some green beans, mung beans or red beans in my pantry is just perfect for situation like this. *Sign* Don't we wish we have the luxury like our fellow bloggers in Malaysia or Singapore, then I would love to have some cut "You Tiao" (Chinese fried cruller) with my tau suan (mung beans dessert). For my tau suan recipe, click here.

I truly miss the salty ham chim peng with five spice powder, or sweet ham chim peng, the one that looks like 8 and the one with glutinous rice in the middle! When I go back, I love to visit the morning market for all these fried stuff, but then I would be attracted to the other kuih stalls, and then nasi lemak and so on. I get really greedy as I want to eat everything but I know I have to control myself because 10 pounds is the most I can gain. Our dilemma of going home, want to eat yet afraid to eat too much. (Sigh!)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Lunch Box Save Money

With the bad economy today, we have to think of more way to save money. I have been preparing lunch box for my husband years ago. It started when we were trying to save money for our first house down payment. We were pretty poor at that time and those days were pretty trying as we couldn't go out and eat. I had to cook everyday and the most that we could do for eating out was to order from the fast food chains “A Dollar" menu special. We couldn't go shopping or spend unnecessarily and it was pretty tough. But we went through it and now my husband actually prefer to bring lunch box to his office. These days I figure most of the offices have a microwave for the employees. Thus, bringing a lunch box for lunch can really save you a lot of money. In addition to that, you know what you put in your lunch box and thus it is healthier compared to eating out. Furthermore, my husband dislike the food in the cafeteria and he actually like the lunch box I prepare for him.

As for the math, let's say if you go out for lunch, it will cost you at least $8 per lunch (drink, tax and tips included), but if you bring a lunch box to work, it will save you $40 for that week. And $160 per month, that's $1,920 per year. Not a bad idea huh?

Oh forgot to add, the above is my nasi lemak lunch box, yummy right? Share with you a tips of mine, normally I cook more for dinner and pack some for his lunch box the next day before we started eating. The next day, he just take it out from the refrigerator and put it in his lunch bag and off he goes. Easy, healthy, delicious and cost saving, you should try it!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Tropical Biscotti

My final cookie baked for this year. Next year I will be starting on Chinese New Year cookies, hard to believe it is just a month away. Hereby wishing all my readers a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to those who don't celebrate it. Oh, in case you are wondering, I cut my biscotti in half for easy storage.

I also had a minor accident two days ago. Believe it or not, I accidentally cut my left index finger (cut into half of my nail) and my left thumb while chopping a cooked chicken into smaller pieces. That was pretty scary especially I used my biggest and sharpest cleaver at home. Of course some screaming and blooding scenes followed and then rushed to an urgent care facility to see if any stitches needed. Luckily no stitches required because they could not possibly stitch through my nail, just some sterilized strips and bandages for now. But half of my nail will probably fall off in due time (that was too scary and painful to imagine and I am too afraid to take off my bandage!). Needless to say, with my left index finger and thumb bandage, working in the kitchen has been slow and quite inconvenient. I made those biscotti prior to the accident that morning.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Winter Solstice

Today is Winter Solstice festival or Dong Zhi “冬至节”. Chinese celebrating this day by having a reunion dinner and eating tang yuan (glutinous rice balls in sweet syrup). I always make tang yuan on this day, have been doing it for years so it's like a custom already. This year I made Pandan flavored tang yuan with Gula Melaka syrup.

I actually made a mistake because I was out of glutinous flour and I added too much water, so the dough was too wet. So I had to use some rice flour to make the dough pliable. In my mind, I was hoping that it works because throwing away the dough was too wasteful , also Evy was too eager to help and eat the tang yuan. In fact, she has been bugging me to make tang yuan and I always postponing her by saying wait until Winter Solstice day. So, I can't possibly disappoint her again. Luckily it still works! The shape is not as round as I prefer but taste wise it is still very similar to tang yuan texture.

Now, wishing everyone in U.S.A a Happy Winter Solstice Festival (as Malaysian celebrated it yesterday).

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Cream Cheese Thumb Print Cookies

Guess what? I decided to play with my cookie dough recipe again. I substituted some butter with cream cheese and came out with this. The dough came out to be a little hard to manage, I couldn't roll it out without breaking the dough. So, it was very hard to cut it with a cookie cutter, so I had to change my method. Hence, I rolled it into a ball and press a thumb print in the middle (follow the thumb print cookie method), even that the dough was very difficult to handle. Look at the above picture you would know, the dough cracks like that even before baking. I used raspberry preserve for my cookie. Surprisingly it came out pretty good because it was all in our tummies already. I won't be sharing the recipe though because I am not sure about this recipe.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ground Meat Wontan Noodle

This is one of my lazy night dinners. I would store some dried wontan noodle (egg noodle) in my pantry for a day I bought some ground turkey. This noodle dish is very simple, only few ingredients needed, dried egg noodle, ground turkey or meat of your choice, dried Chinese mushroom and garlic. And the result would be a satisfying meal.


Egg noodle (about 6 bundles), boiled in boiling water until cooked, drained and set aside.
Ground turkey (about 1/2 pound) or ground meat of your choice.

Chopped Chinese mushroom (About 6-8, soaked in warm water until soften)

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

Oyster sauce

Dark soy sauce

A little sugar


1. In a heated oil, add cooking oil. Add ground turkey and garlic, stir-fry until the meat is cooked. Add mushroom and stir-fry well.

2. Add drained noodle and stir well. Season with sauces and a little water if needed. Dish out and serve with chili of your choice.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Cookies

Decided to make some Christmas cookies with my kids. Evy would be the little helper while Edda would be the on looker. Whenever I told them mommy is going to make a cake or some cookies, they would be really thrilled and ran over to my kitchen countertop. Evy would say can I help to do this or that. Edda would be happy just sitting on the kitchen island stool starring at us working. I did not try any new recipe but picked my simple crisp lemon cookies recipe. What to do, I prefer easy recipe and my kids loved lemon cookies.

Edda is starting to pick up more words. She is also trying to express herself more with words instead of action. That was good as compared with her sister, she was considered slow in speech development. Evy now is really talkative and she has so many questions, can be quite annoying. So, when the mommies said once your kid started talking, they won't stop is so true, so should appreciate the time when they still couldn't talk much. Hahaha...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Green Tea Muffin with Red Bean Paste

Received this as a suggestion from a reader. And since I have some canned red bean and water chestnut paste in my pantry, I decided to give it a go. I used my green tea yogurt muffin recipe and added a dollop of red bean and chestnut paste in the middle before baking. I thought red bean paste pair better with green tea flavor, so I tried it with green tea muffin. It yields 18 muffins for me, so again I have to give some away and freeze some for later consumption. I will take it out a night before and let it defroze and be ready for breakfast the next day.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sambal Asparagus with Shrimps

Showing a picture of my dinner few weeks ago. Asparagus was on sales again during the week of Thanksgiving and I always took the opportunity to buy the on sales vegetable. The usual way of cooking asparagus for Malaysian was with sambal chili. I decided to add some shrimps and carrot to make it more complete. I used the shrimp paste in chili oil and my own chili in oil for this dish. This recipe is similar to my Sambal Dried Shrimps Okra.

Or you can try the western version: Season the asparagus (just cut the hard bottom off) with some olive oil, salt and pepper (toast well) and baked in preheated 450'F oven for 15 minutes. Remember to line the baking pan with aluminum foil (heavy duty prefer) so that no washing required, just fold and throw. Very easy!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Chinese Pastry with Mung Bean Paste

It looks very much like tau sar piah (mung bean biscuit) isn't it? But it is not! This pastry is soft and supposed to look like mooncake, but mine turned out looking completely different, more like Shanghai mooncake. I used Peony's walnut pastry recipe but omitted the walnuts and used mung bean paste as filling. I did alter the baking instruction in the end and perhaps that was the reason my pastry look different? I didn't bother to take it out and apply a second egg wash and put it back for additional 15 minutes. Instead I baked mine for a total of 25 minutes with egg yolk glaze. You think that's the cause?

For those who are interested in Peony's pastry recipe, click here. Hmm...I should decorate the top with some black sesame seeds or melon seeds ya! This recipe yields 22 mooncakes for me. I gave half away to a friend who came for tea. Don't think we all can finish so much within couple of days since I have no idea how long this homemade mooncake keep in a container.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Instant Prawn Mee (Noodle)

How can a bowl of instant noodle looks so appetizing? These days the instant noodles are getting creative and we certainly can buy a lot of variety of instant noodle like bak kut teh, duck herbal flavor, prawn mee, mee goreng, assam noodle, tom yam, tom yam with coconut milk, yee mee, pan mee just to list a few. If you are only used to the flavors offered in the supermarkets, I suggest you to pay a visit to your local oriental store and pick up other exotic flavors to try, you won't be disappointed. Warning: huge selection, might give you a headache! :P

This is a bowl of instant prawn mee from Ibumie made in Malaysia. I really love this mee as it tasted pretty authentic to me. When you are lazy, a bowl of instant noodle made in Malaysia can be really satisfying. What is your favorite brand and flavor of instant noodle?

Friday, December 05, 2008

Tofu & Corns Soup

I made a big pot of chicken stock for my noodle soup the other day. Had some leftover chicken stock for my tofu and corns soup the next day. I love to make this soup with my leftover chicken stock as the soup will be very sweet and pretty healthy for the kids, considering tofu and corns were used.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Sweet Potato Cake

I bought some sweet potatoes and wanted to experiment with making a sweet potato cake. I used the pumpkin cake recipe as a base and made this cake. Since sweet potatoes is sweeter in nature, so I cut down the sugar a little so that it won't be too sweet. I also provided my short-cut version of making the mashed sweet potatoes. Of course if you don't own a microwave, you can always peel and then steam the potatoes for 20-30 minutes (or until soft) and then mash it.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Leftover Turkey Porridge

I have a leftover turkey thigh courtesy of Lily. Actually I requested it from her so that I can make some turkey porridge the next day. :P She was really generous and just asked me to take, so I did. :P Thanks Lily as now we have a day of delicious turkey porridge to enjoy. This was the first time I made a turkey porridge using leftover as I never baked a whole turkey before. This porridge turned out to be very good as it also got a thumb up from my hubby and two girls. Evy even requested for lunch box the next day.